New York saw one of the biggest pushes during Earth Day, including 1,000 free rain barrels given out for local residents and a clean energy vehicle parade. With images of trees sprouting up on Times Square billboards Earth Day New York’s managing director Joanne Black called it a “a visual call to action.”

Large screens also displayed the number of people who text message “tree” to 85944, pledging $5 for the United Nations’ Year of Forest. The tally was sponsored by companies like CNN, MTV, Reuters and Toshiba, with funding helping to plant trees in Mexico, Kenya, India and the Philippines.

“It’s rare for so many companies to give up their screens,” noted Black. “For this, they have.”

“We hope to engage a broad segment of the public and show that even a small contribution can really make a difference,” said Earth Day New York Executive Director Pamela Lippe.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced plans to make the city cleaner, such as by using cleaner fuels instead of heating oils. Estimates say that a 10 percent reduction in heating oil pollution could prevent 300 deaths, 200 hospital admissions and 600 emergency department visits from airborne pollution each year.

Source: Reuters